- Mar 24, 2007
- Total posts
The one thing that every holdem player, particularly in his early playing days, will hear is that he/she plays way too many hands. It is true that many players make this mistake and end up fattening their opponents bankroll. Recently, and I mean the past 3 days, I've been questioning my game and started wondering if maybe I fold too often before the flop. The reason for this is that the last 3 tourneys that I've played I've found myself always behind, with a below average stack, the last time being last night. The 3 times in question were the same type of tourney, the very popular 180 seat $4.00+ 40c on PS, which happens to be my favourite tourney since I've done very well in it having made the money and final table several times, although best placement ever was 2nd (yeah I know, I need to work on my shorthanded game, thx for telling me). Now lets get this straight: I am not, by any means, an expert. Only thing is now I'm wondering if I'm awful. Being behind at the break, yet again for 3rd night in a row, you start to ask yourself questions, like "what am I doing wrong?", "how come this is happening?", "am I a moron?" ,and stuff like that. So, as I go through this analysis during the 1st break last night, while I still think that me being a moron is probably the correct answer, I also noticed that, particularly in the last 2 sessions, I wasn't seeing many flops. I check my stat box and it says that I saw the flop 17% of times. Now, I'm thinking, that is way too low. Dam, so that's why. Have I been contaged by "folditis"? In the same time, it did appear to me that I was getting way too many junk hands, and I did recall that happening the night before too (lets forget about Wednesday night, I got shortstacked for my fault, so lets limit this now to Thursday and Friday night sessions). Thanks to instant hand history, I'm able to look at every hand that I was dealt, so, for the sake of it, I wrote them down. When the tourney restarted, I kept writing down every single starting hand until I got knocked out. While I was doing this, my frustation level was increasingly getting higher since, again, I was getting a very high percentage of junk hands. Needless to say, although I was still alive thanks mostly to the occasional steal, I was consistently behind average. Also to blame for that was the fact that I never was in position to take down a big pot. That is probably what hurt the most. The one chance I had for that I blew it, and I'll describe this hand to you. We're down to just less than 40 players, average stack is a little less than 7k, I have 3.2 k. Blinds are 100/200, ante 25. I'm on the button and I get dealt QhJh, a hand that, given my position, is without any doubt a great hand to raise with and attempt to steal the blinds. Also, the player on my left, the SB, was very aggressive so I was happy to raise his ass with somewhat of a legit hand and positional advantage. However, before a get a chance to do that, a player in EP raises to 600, and gets called by a player in MP. The rest fold to me. So I stop and think, what now? An EP raiser is always dangerous, although, at times, Ive seen people raise with all kinds of hands, even UTG. But since this raiser was called and there were 2 people in the pot already, a reraise here didn't seem right to do, especially considering that the caller didn't have a big stack and being faced by a reraise he might have pushed all-in and QhJh didn't seem like a good spot for me to eventually call him. The original raiser had been moved from another table so I had no read at all on him yet and he was sitting on average stack. OK, raising is not an option. It's either call or fold. I should have told myself that folding wasn't an option either, because, like a perfect fish, that's what I did. The SB called, BB folds, pot is 2.2k, it's 3 to the flop and it's a beauty: Th9d8h. Yes, I would've had the nuts and 4 to a flush. Want to know what happened? All 3 checked the flop, which I would have done too from the button, in the hopes of trapping someone. The turn is As, and now the SB bets 2k!!!!! The other 2 fold. I've just lost at least 4.2k. Could I be more stupid than that? What a bonehead. I don't deserve to play this game. At this point, since I'm not immune to it, I'm on tilt. The very next hand I'm dealt Js9s. Keep in mind, I'm next to the button now. This time the action folds to me, so I raise, which is the right thing to do with that hand, given my position and the fact that the pot is uncontested. The button (yes, him again) calls my raise. The flop comes T83 rainbow, giving me an open ended straight draw. Pot is 1.7k, and having somewhat connected with this flop I bet 800, hoping he folds. I'm wrong, he calls. Here is where I tilt. Turn is a 5 and I go all-in (I'm an idiot) he calls right away and turns over 88 for a set of 8s. River is a blank and I'm knocked out in 37th place. In the end, I totally deserved it. Now, I have to reconnect to what I was talking about in the beginning which is real reason that I'm annoying you with this post , that is, if I'm folding too much before the flop. As I said, I bothered to write down my starting hands in this tournament, which I was able to do thanks to instant hand history. It turns out that I was dealt a total of 114 hands and I saw the flop 21 times, an unacceptable 18%. To be honest, this doesn't account of those times when I was able to steal the blinds without a flop. That happened probably 6 or 7 times. So lets make it 28 times that I either raised or called. So now it's 24%, still not enough when you consider that at least a few times you'll see the flop just because you're the BB and nobody raises, making that 24% look more like a 21% or perhaps worse. If you recall, I also mentioned that I was getting way too many junk hands. It seemed as if I always had a duece or a 3, or something like K4o or J5o and junk similar to that. I look at the sheet with starting hands and it hits me. I never, ever once had a hand like AK, AQ, or AJ, suited or not. I had AT twice. Never, also, did I get AA,KK,QQ or JJ. For that account, the best pocket pair I had all night was 44. This is not BS. Call me an idiot and I'll probably agree with you but I'm not a bullshitter. As I keep going through these hands I realize that I should have also kept track of my position by writing down when I was SB and BB, just how it is on the instant hand history. Too late. I went to bed after that but I kept couldn't get my mind off it, because now I'm thinking: is it me or I just got dealt a rotten streak of cards? When I wake up this morning, it's Saturday (no work, yes!!!!!!!!) and being that I still have this on my mind I finally do something about it that makes sense. I get " Holdem poker for advanced players" off my shelf , so that I can compare the hands that I was dealt with Sklansky's hand ratings to finally get an answer. Those who are familiar with this book know what I'm talking about, those who are not should go buy it right away, and that's about the best poker tip you'll ever get from me. Again, I made the capitol mistake to not write my position on each hand which kind of messes up this whole analysis, but still, I figure, I can get some kind of answer to this situation since I'm starting to lose confidence in my game. Out of the 114 hands I was dealt, exactly 30 of them were included in Sklansky's 8 groups. That's close to how many I was involved in. But here comes the bigger stat. These 30 playable hands are obviously not of the same value, so I broke down the numbers even more, and this is what i found: I was dealt 0 (zero!!!!!!!) hands ranked in groups 1 and 2. How is this possible? I check again. WTF. I'm right, 0 hands out of 114 belonged to groups 1 or 2. Here is the rest: 4 were group 3 hands, 3 were group 4 hands, 6 belonged to group 5 hands, 1 was a group 6 hand, 7 were group 7 hands and 9 were group 8 hands. I came to the conclusion that what I did in this tournament probably wasn't that bad, particularly considering that if I hadn't screwed up that hand I could have gone very deep, who knows. I also realize that my game isn't strong enough to overcome this type of adversity, so any time this happens, more often than not, I will fail to reach the final table or even the money. But it also raises another question: does patience really pay? These numbers pretty much prove that I could sit there all night and not get decent hands. So maybe, in tournament play, since the dynamics are so different than ring games, it might not be so wrong to call, or even raise, with hands like J4 or K2, every now and then, particularly if cards are not coming and you're falling behind. The question then becomes: should I really loosen up or keep waiting? I'd like to know your opinion on this, how you would deal with it and if this has ever happened to you, because I really have no answer. Sorry for making it this long, next time I'll be much more brief.